IT expert Enno Rey tells us how the Internet of Things would not be possible without IPv6.
Enno Rey is the Managing Director of a German IT security firm, the brains behind the TROOPERS security conference and an IPv6 enthusiast. Together with other experts, he will be speaking at the IPv6 Business Conference in Zurich on 18 June. SWITCH’s Frank Herberg met up with him for an interview.
Frank Herberg: Mr Rey, IPv6 is a topic many in the IT industry would prefer to ignore if they could, but it is clearly something you are very enthusiastic about. Why is that?
Enno Rey: Quite simply, I think IPv6 lays the foundations for the next stage in the evolution of the Internet. The Internet of Things in particular wouldn’t even be conceivable without it. Having spent many years working with big networks, I really can’t stand network address translation (NAT). Joking aside, though, my enthusiasm for IPv6 is sadly curbed somewhat by the gulf that has opened up in recent years between the real requirements of many networks and the parallel world of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standardisation.
What is your typical experience when a company commissions you for an IPv6 project?
More often that not, the project hasn’t been given a big enough budget or adequate resources, it’s not sufficiently visible or properly embedded in the hierarchy, and it doesn’t have a timetable. This means that IPv6 activities are more or less peripheral and often only involve network staff, who are less likely to have trouble with IPv6 over the long term than, say, the people running application services.
Where does the IPv6 integration workload typically turn out to be bigger than expected?
When you have a complex application landscape in networks with two protocol stacks, it’s common to underestimate the medium-term operating requirements. This is because the relevant practical experience is almost exclusively in provider networks, which are a lot more homogeneous that many corporate networks.
You will be giving several talks at the IPv6 Business Conference in Zurich on 18 June. Can you tell us what they are about and who they are aimed at?
My colleague Christopher Werny and I were invited for three talks. The one I’m giving on DHCPv6 focuses on enterprise networks and should be of interest first and foremost to network managers at large and medium-sized authorities and companies. My joint talk with Christopher on special characteristics of IPv6 in virtualised environments could be especially relevant for data centre staff. Planners working in very large environments might be interested in my talk on variants and strategies in applying for global IPv6 address space. I’ve already been involved in several such processes, so I’ll be speaking from experience.
The SWITCH foundation has been providing the Swiss universities with IT services for more than 25 years. Based on your IPv6 project experience, do you have a message for our clients who are only just starting to get to grips with IPv6?
IPv6 will have a fundamental impact on what networks and the service landscapes that use them look like in ten years’ time. You must not underestimate the complexity of IPv6. Rolling it out is a bit like changing a tyre on a car that’s still moving. Early adopters in the leading industrialised nations have all switched over to IPv6 to some extent already. This means that anyone who hasn’t yet started to address the subject runs the risk of having to take action in a hurry further down the line. This will have repercussions in terms of workload, costs and downtime.
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr Rey!